KTL is something of a metal/noise supergroup – a long-running collaboration between guitarist Stephen O'Malley of Sunn O))) and Peter Rehberg, founder of the venerable label and CTM 2014 programme highlight, Editions Mego.
KTL’s haunting, frozen soundscapes lack the full-throttle, confrontational distortion of Sunn O))) and are more dreamy than Rehberg's work as Pita, tempering metal discord with drones and dreamy ambiance. Their flexible and freely-evolving compositions regularly clock-in at well over 15 minutes, and are at their most powerful when unleashed live.
KTL originally came together in 2006 to score and perform Gisèle Vienne’s theatre piece, “Kindertotenlieder”(“songs on the death of children”), and have since worked extensively soundtracking films and performing live. In 2010, the band’s score to L’aurore, a the 1927 film by F.W. Murnau concerned with displacement and isolation in an urban environment, was performed live at the Musée de Louvre in Paris.
In addition to O’Malley’s guitar work, much of the material for their work has been generated on modular synthesizers at Ina GRM studios in Paris and EMS studios in Stockholm, two institutions explored through special programmes at CTM 2014.
The duo have released a stream of studio albums on Editions Mego, as well as a host of live recordings on their own KTL Live Archive platform. Their album IV, entitled suitably in accordance with previous releases, was recorded in Tokyo by Jim O'Rourke, and was the first of their works to be created purely for its own sake, without the framework of a theater or film project. Their follow-up album, V (2012), features Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson and digital artwork from Mark Fell. V sees KTL deviate from the metal and noise environment of their earlier works to tackle the musical processes of the European avant-garde, referencing the long, complex, and immersive drone techniques of minimalist pioneer Phill Niblock, who also performs at CTM 2014.